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Colorado vs. San Francisco Series Betting Preview

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Aug/28/2009

It may not be "How the West was won" but for San Francisco, it's a critical weekend to get back into the wild card race in the National League. With 34 games remaining, the Giants trail Colorado by three games for the last playoff spot in the senior circuit. Last week San Francisco (69-59, +10 units) lost three of four near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and cannot afford a similar fate or postseason dreams could be washed out to sea by the Bay.

Manager Bruce Boche has the pitching aligned exactly how he wants it to give San Francisco its best chance of winning. In order, it's Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain, this at least sounds daunting for Colorado. Lincecum (12-4, 2.43 ERA) lost last Sunday at Colorado 4-2, giving up room service pitch for home run and walking a season high five batters. Last year's Cy Young winner is 4-0 with a sterling 1.36 ERA at AT&T Park in his last six outings and the Giants are 8-3 when the right-hander is pitching on four days rest.

Colorado (72-56, +12.6 units) has too quickly put behind the disappointment of losing series to front-running Los Angeles and refocus on the task at hand. The Rockies are 17-9 in August road games the last couple of years and have what they believe is the right pitcher to combat Lincecum in Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.36).  The righthander has pitched a minimum of eight innings in four of his last five starts, not allowing more than two runs and winning each game. He relishes the challenge of facing "The Freak".

"I love challenges," Jimenez said. "I'm positive when I have a challenge. I can't wait to be in that position. Hopefully, everything's going to be OK this time." Jimenez has made nine straight starts allowing three or fewer runs and Colorado is 21-6 on the road against a right-hand starter.

Sportsbook.com has the Giants as -125 money line favorites, with the total Un6.5. San Fran is 8-2 when Lincecum pitches as a favorite and has won 41 of last 58 in favorite role. The Rockies have won just one of last seven as an underdog and are 7-20 when Jimenez is pitching as road dog and 1-5 if the opponent has winning record.

Game 1 Edge: San Francisco

San Francisco knew coming into the season, they would have to build this team around pitching and defense and the front office has been prophetic. The Giants are 14th in the National League scoring runs, a paltry four runs per game. Nobody knows this better than Barry Zito (8-11, 4.09). Though Zito has been criticized and dismissed as a non-talent more than Heidi Montag, this season Zito has looked like the pitcher the Giants spent 126 million for several seasons ago. In his last eight starts, the lefty has ERA of 2.08, yet is just 3-2, as he has received the poorest run support in the NL at just under three runs a game. Zito made a decision to stop worrying about avoiding bats and instead has gone after hitters, which has paid dividends for a pitcher needing confidence. The Giants have won five of his last six starts at home.

Colorado counters with Jason Marquis (14-8, 3.47), making this a rematch from Monday, when neither starting pitcher figured in decision. Marquis has ended being a key acquisition for the Rockies, pitching well when they were still trying to settle in and rock solid once they turned the corner playing outstanding baseball. Colorado comes into the series 52-25 in last 77 outings and they are 8-2 when Marquis faces a club with winning record.

--

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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